In 1992 the newly independent Republic of Slovenia erased from the register of permanent residence 18,305 inhabitants (1% of the population) that until then had enjoyed full citizenship rights. Prior to secession of Slovenia these persons had been internal immigrants and citizens of former Yugoslavia. After the secession these persons did not became Slovene citizens. The “punishment” for not becoming Slovene citizens followed in the form of the erasure from the register of permanent residents. Thus they were transformed into “illegal” persons and deprived of basic human, social, and political rights. Without being notified the Erased lost their jobs, pensions, health insurances, the right to purchase apartments (in the period of property rights’ transition), and lived in a constant fear of being deported. Many of the Erased were deported or left the country understanding that there was no future for persons with “wrong” ethnic belonging in the newly established “democratic” state. Majority of the Erased persisted in Slovenia being subjugated to everyday humiliations and arbitrariness of the police and other state or local officials.
For ten years, the experiences and suffering of the Erased were shrouded in silence. Gradually the Erased started to self organize, to gain visibility and their struggle led to important victories. The Constitutional Court ruled twice (in 1999 and 2003) that the act of the erasure was unconstitutional and that rights should be restored retroactively. Instead of complying with the Constitutional Court decision Slovene political cast and especially right wing parties (which are still in power) started to mobilize the Slovene population against the Erased using xenophobic and racist discourses.